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Leinster v Saracens (Sat)


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Leinster v Saracens (Sat)

Sexton, 35, is aiming for a fourth Champions Cup success with LeinsterDate: Saturday, 19 September Kick-off: 15:00 BST Venue: Arriva Stadium, DublinCoverage: Live radio commentary on 5 live sports extra and BBC Sounds, with text commentary on the BBC Sport website and appBritish and Irish Lions fly-half Johnny Sexton will start Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final…

Leinster v Saracens (Sat)
Johnny Sexton
Sexton, 35, is aiming for a fourth Champions Cup success with Leinster
Date: Saturday, 19 September Kick-off: 15: 00 BST Venue: Arriva Stadium, Dublin
Coverage: Live radio commentary on 5 live sports extra and BBC Sounds, with text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app

British and Irish Lions fly-half Johnny Sexton will start Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens.

Sexton started last week’s Pro14 final win over Ulster on the bench but is back in the starting line-up – as are scrum-half Luke McGrath, hooker Sean Cronin and flanker Will Connors.

Saracens’ Mako Vunipola has recovered from a back spasm, while scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth is also fit again.

Full-back Alex Goode moves to fly-half to fill in for the banned Owen Farrell.

England back Elliot Daly takes over at full-back in place of Goode with Alex Lewington and Scotland’s Sean Maitland completing the back three.

The two teams met in last season’s Champions Cup final, with Saracens fighting back to win 20-10 and lift the trophy for the third time in four years.

However since then the English side have been punished for persistently breaching the salary cap rules of their domestic league and will drop into the second-tier Championship at the end of this season.

George Kruis, Ben Earl and Ben Spencer – all England internationals – are among the players who have left Saracens since the teams’ last meeting.

Saracens’ win in the final last season was their only success in four Champions Cup meetings with Leinster and they suffered a 30-19 defeat when the two faced off at the same stage of the competition in Dublin in 2018.

Leinster have not tasted defeat since losing to Saracens at St James’ Park in May 2019.

The winner of this quarter-final will go on to face either Clermont Auvergne or Racing 92 in the last four.

Line-ups

Leinster: Larmour; Keenan, Ringrose (capt), Henshaw, Lowe; Sexton (capt) McGrath; Healy, Cronin, Porter; Toner, Ryan; Doris, Connors, Conan.

Replacements: R Kelleher, E Byrne, Bent, Baird, Van der Flier, Gibson-Park, R Byrne, O’Loughlin.

Saracens: Daly; Lewington, Taylor, Barritt (capt), Maitland; Goode, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Koch; Itoje, Swinson; Rhodes, Wray, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Woolstencroft, Barrington, Clarey, Hunter-Hill, Clark, Davies, M Vunipola, Morris.

‘It would be amazing to beat Leinster’

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen: “Saracens on their day, we know the threats they have, they’ve had some changes but they still have such quality throughout their team – some world-class players in there so we need to make sure we’re peaking week on week basically at the moment.”

Saracens wing Sean Maitland: “In the back of the mind, we’ve always had this Leinster game. It’s the only game that really means anything to us, but in saying that, it’s been so good for our young lads to get experience.

“For the older boys like me, we’ve been building up to this game as the one with real significance. We’ve got nothing to lose and it’s going to be special. It would be amazing to beat Leinster given how the season has gone and the adversity we’ve had to put up with.”

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